Congressman David Rouzer (NC-07) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has updated its producer criteria and will now deliver COVID-19 relief payments to certain eligible tobacco growers.  This is a change from the USDA’s previous policy, which prohibited tobacco growers from participation in key COVID-19 relief efforts.

The CARES Act, passed by Congress in March, provides direct relief for producers facing challenges due to COVID-19.

“Our tobacco growers are critical to North Carolina’s rural communities,” said Congressman Rouzer.  “Like the rest of our farm families, they have suffered greatly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and face major challenges.  Up until now, they have been excluded from benefiting from the USDA’s pandemic relief efforts.  I am grateful to Secretary Perdue and this administration for addressing this inequity.

In April, Rep. Rouzer joined Sens. Tillis and Burr, as well as other members of the North Carolina congressional delegation, to write to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urging the Department to use funds authorized by the CARES Act to support tobacco growers.